Le Havre Reviews
The good news: He still delivers.
Le Havre is possibly Kaurismäki's most accessible film. It presents a French contemporary setting completely seasoned with Nouvelle Vague characters, from the way they talk and behave, to the way they dress. You travel right back to the late 60s and 70s, but you don't. The film presents a dramatic plot told in the most unusual of ways, with some depressing punches to the face which effect is softened by discreet comedic relief, in case the feature was not accessible enough. For any reason(s) that may be discovered through the personal interpretation of the viewer, the director gives some nods to his past self with some evident references, such as Marcel's character briefly describing to Idrissa his past "bohemian life" managing to make a living "only with artistic success".
So, even if the plot description or my opening bad news may not offer you enough incentives to watch this, you must remember something important. Kaurismäki never told dramatic stories in standard ways, and he certainly doesn't this time either. That's a good thing. Moreover, his trademarks are still vivid: the comedic moments, the depressing themes, the struggle to make a living, the coffee breaks, the cigarettes and the bars...